Ten of thousands of people demonstrated through central Brussels on Sunday to protest reinforced COVID-19 restrictions imposed by the Belgian government to counter the latest spike in coronavirus cases.
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In Europe, tens of thousands of people demonstrated through central Brussels on Sunday to protest reinforced COVID-19 restrictions imposed by the Belgian government to counter the latest spike in coronavirus cases.
Many among the police estimate of 35,000 at the rally had already left for home when the demonstration descended into violence as several hundred people started pelting police, smashing cars and setting garbage bins ablaze. Police replied with tear gas and water cannons and sought to restore order when dusk settled on the Belgian capital.
“We have injuries, but we cannot yet say how many,” police spokesperson Ilse Vande Keere said. It was also unclear how many people were detained.
Earlier, marchers came to protest the government’s strong advice to get vaccinated and any possible moves to impose mandatory shots.
WATCH | Europe sees surge in COVID-19 cases:
Europe sees surge in COVID-19 cases, lockdown ordered in Austria
A spike in COVID-19 cases across Europe has forced some countries to reimpose restrictions. Austria will enter a nationwide lockdown for 20 days, with plans to become the first European country to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for everyone by February. 2:00
Shouting “Freedom! Freedom! Freedom!” and singing the anti-fascist song “Bella Ciao,” protesters lined up behind a huge banner saying “Together for Freedom” and marched to the European Union headquarters. Amid the crowd, the signs varied from far-right insignia to the rainbow flags of the LGBT community.
The World Health Organization said last week that Europe was currently the hot spot of the pandemic, the only region in which COVID-19 deaths were rising. The autumn surge of infections is overwhelming hospitals in many central and eastern European nations, including Ukraine, Russia, Romania, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
Over the past several days, there have been many anti-vaccination marches in European nations as one government after another tightened measures. Dutch police arrested more than 30 people during unrest in The Hague and other towns in the Netherlands on Saturday, following much worse violence the previous night.
Austria is going into a 10-day national lockdown on Monday for all of its people, after first imposing a lockdown on the unvaccinated. Christmas markets in Vienna were packed on Sunday with locals and tourists alike taking in the holiday sights before shops and food stalls had to close.
What’s happening across Canada
Active cases in Saskatchewan drop to 1,047 — one-third of what it was a month ago.
United Church expects ministers in Manitoba to be vaccinated.
Ontario reports 741 new cases, 3 more deaths.
Quebec expected to begin vaccinating some 700,000 children once doses arrive.
N.B. registers 90 new infections.
Faith groups share COVID-19 protocols after Amherst, N.S., outbreak.
Few details on policy for unvaccinated N.W.T. government workers as deadline looms.
What’s happening around the world
As of Sunday, more than 257.3 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University’s COVID-19 tracker. The reported global death toll stood at more than 5.1 million.
PHOTOS | COVID-19 protests devolve into riots in Guadeloupe:
In the Americas, French authorities sent police special forces to the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, an overseas territory of France, as protests over COVID-19 restrictions erupted into rioting and looting for the third day in a row.
In Asia, relatives of people who died of COVID-19 are questioning Japan’s stay-at-home policy for coronavirus patients, arguing they are being denied hospital care and are essentially being abandoned.
In Africa, Nigerian authorities began a campaign to significantly expand the country’s coronavirus immunization program. Officials are aiming to inoculate half the population before February, a target they think will help them achieve herd immunity.